A befuddled Jim walks away from a conversation with Tony, Elaine, and Alex.
Taxi was about a group of New York City cabbies, most of whom were trying to make it in other professions, talking about their lives and problems, and dealing with the sardonically hilarious company dispatcher Louie (Danny DeVito) who handed out assignments like a petty dictator. This was one of the great television ensemble comedies, and many of the actors went on to star in films and other television series. Besides Louie, the main characters included Alex (Judd Hirsch), Bobby (Jeff Conaway), Elaine (Marilu Henner), Latka (Andy Kaufman), Jim (Christopher Lloyd), Simka (Carol Kane), and Tony (Tony Danza).
Elaine and Alex talk to Latka about Simka while Tony looks on.
On the show, most of the characters were trying to make it in other occupations, and just drove their cabs part-time. The only full-time driver was Alex, who was also older, more experienced with life in New York City, and acted as everyone’s wiser older brother. Tony was a “nice guy” boxer who never could win a fight, Jim was a spaced out ex-hippy who apparently had spent a lot of time at Harvard with Timothy Leary, Elaine was an art gallery receptionist just trying to make ends meet, and Bobby was a young actor hoping for his first break. Other characters include Latka, the humorously strange cab mechanic, who was from some undetermined eastern European country, and later his compatriot and girlfriend, Simka, who was equally scatterbrained.
Jim, Alex, Elaine, and Tony try to keep a secret from Louie.
Acting as a constant foil to everyone’s dreams and aspirations was Louie, who took great delight in rubbing it in whenever one of the cabbies had a career setback or other misfortune. Eventually, even Louie was shown to have a softer side. Later in the series, he had an on-again, off-again relationship with Zena (Rhea Perlman, DeVito’s real life wife).
Louie and Tony discuss chinchillas at the dispatcher cage with Elaine and Alex.
Tony Danza has worn black high top Converse Chuck Taylors in two shows, Taxi and Who’s the Boss. In both shows, Tony plays a naive warm-hearted guy who exudes cool to the max and is liked by everybody. In Taxi, Tony wore his chucks during the last one or two seasons only and by doing that, he showed how his character grew into a more mature, streetwise guy who continued to have a big heart. He always wore his high black chucks with jeans and often with a New York Yankees jacket, a real All-American look. In one episode,Tony comes to work all excited about his new way to make money by raising chinchillas, because they have been multiplying at a very rapid pace. Everything is great until Louie tells him that you have to kill the chinchillas to harvest their fur. Typically, nice guy Tony hadn’t even thought about that. He even had named each chinchilla and stenciled their names on the feeding bowls.
Alex, Elaine, and Tony watch Louie take off with Zena.
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